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What Will Knicks Do Next?

By: Jason A. Cohen

With the NBA's trade deadline a month away, the New York Knicks brain trust has a lot to ponder. Having already made multiple deals to jettison Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, and Mardy Collins, it is not a question of if the Knicks will make a move, but who will be the next domino to fall. Since taking over for the failed Isiah Thomas experiment, team President Donnie Walsh has done an admirable job of revamping the squad, while also keeping an eye to the much fabled 2010 free agent class. This leads many Knicks fan to ask what Walsh will do next.

With a roster spot set to be vacated by the retiring Cuttino Mobley, acquired in the Zach Randolph deal, in addition to the impending departure of much maligned Stephon Marbury, the Knicks will have two roster spots to fill. Patrick Ewing Jr. is frequently mentioned as a strong candidate to fill one of these roster spots given that he is currently playing with the Knicks' D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. He is averaging an impressive 33.9 minutes with 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per contest. His defensive intensity would be welcomed with open arms as the Knicks are giving up 106 points per game for a -3.8 ratio. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that when you give up more points than you score, there is a problem.

Back to the question at hand, what should the Knicks do to improve their roster? The answer is simple. More than anything else, the Knicks need a player who will bring defensive intensity, grab rebounds, and block shots. They have enough players capable of scoring and they desperately need someone who does not need to score to be a contributor. This is a stark contrast to Eddy Curry, who is a leading candidate to be dealt should Donnie Walsh find any takers. Curry, who is 6'11 and nearly 300 pounds, SHOULD be a gifted defensive player and among the league leaders in blocks and rebounds per game.

In reality, Curry's career averages of 5.4 rebounds and .7 blocks per game are abysmal. To put this into perspective, Jason Kidd, a point guard, is roughly seven inches shorter than Curry yet he has a career average of 6.7 rebounds per game. Given Kidd is commonly referred to as one of the greatest rebounding point guards of all time; Curry's rebounding deficiencies are extremely troubling.

Some players that would prove to be significant upgrades include former Knick Marcus Camby, Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins, Sacremento Kings center Brad Miller, and even struggling Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert. Many of these players are certainly not on the trade market, but they all serve as the type of player the Knicks should look to acquire.

This being said, the Knicks will have a difficult time building Curry's trade value as he has only played in one game thus far due to injury, he is not a fit in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense, and his contract runs through the 2010-2011 season. The more likely candidates to be moved are David Lee, Quentin Richardson, Malik Rose or Nate Robinson. Stay tuned as we count down to the NBA's trade deadline.

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